One of the first games I got to demo at E3 2018 was Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate for Nintendo Switch! For those who don’t know, Generations Ultimate has essentially been out in Japan on Switch since March of 2017 as Monster Hunter XX. Generations Ultimate is an expanded-upon version of the older 3DS game, Monster Hunter Generations (confused yet?). As someone who missed out on the 3DS release of Generations in 2016, it was exciting to get to try this enhanced version on the big screen, with a proper controller. The demo had four of us in a party, tasked with taking down a humongous lizard-like creature in a snowy environment. I love local multiplayer because reacting to your fellow hunters in the flesh is more immersive than online, at least to me.
There were three quests to choose from, based on difficulty: Beginner, intermediate and advanced. Per the suggestion of the rep at the booth, we were advised to stay away from the hardest difficulty, so we all agreed to go with Intermediate. Monster Hunter has a steep learning curve, so I had no problem putting aside my pride and taking the difficulty down a notch.
A noticeable feature was the inclusion of classes, or “Guild Styles” to choose from that almost felt like perks. Some focused on combat buffs, while others were based on agility, which is the one I picked. I picked the Aerial Style, allowing me to jump in the air and when combined with an attack, does devastating damage. Admittedly, Monster Hunter has complex mechanics and a mere 15 minute demo is nowhere near enough time to fully learn the way of the Guild Style. There were around a dozen different perks to choose from, but since the demo was just the length of the quest, I only got to try one.
If you’re new to the series or have only recently started playing Monster Hunter World, Generations will feel different. For one, the Switch doesn’t have the graphical fidelity that the PS4 or Xbox One has, so the art style is less realistic. Secondly, loading screens between areas are back, unfortunately. In some ways, Generations Ultimate might feel like a step back from World.
Above all else, the gameplay felt just as complex and rewarding as other instalments. I cannot tell you how good it felt to wield a weapon using the Nintendo Switch Pro controller. I’ve put a lot of time into Monster Hunter on 3DS and using a controller is a MAJOR upgrade.
I was trying to use a setup I wasn’t used to, so I went with the hammer. It’s okay to use, but unfortunately due to the short length of the weapon, I had to stay extra close to my foe, putting me in dangerous situations more often than I’d like.
Our team was decent, consisting of four players who had some experience with the series. We were lucky enough to not get paired with someone who had never played before, a somewhat common occurrence at events like E3. Our hunt played out how I expected: we chased the monster around and pummelled it till it was down.
It was so cool to have all of us there communicating with one another out loud about tactics to use against our foe. Because we were just on intermediate difficulty, we were able to take down the beast with a few minutes to spare, following a cheer from the crowd watching us.
Performance-wise, Generations Ultimate ran smoothly, considering the platform. I think we need to give the Switch more credit, because games like Doom and Wolfenstein are playable with few issues, so surly it can handle an older Monster Hunter game. Still, it’s likely that the reason we got Generations Ultimate instead of World is because of the system’s power or lack thereof.
Fans wanted Monster Hunter World and instead we got Generations Ultimate. Does that leave some of us disappointed? Perhaps, but Generations Ultimate features way more monsters than in World, along with a wealth of content. To me, having Monster Hunter on Switch at all makes me happy and from my impressions of the demo, it’s shaping up to be a solid experience.